Blackberry protein sponge

This cake uses some strange ingredients that you might not usually associate with cakes, but once you taste it you’ll see why! The chickpea keeps the cake moist without becoming dense and the blackberries give it a pleasant tang that stops it being too sweet or bland.

If you are vegan, the whole cake can be made vegan by using egg substitute and vegan protein (although be aware – vegan protein absorbs more liquid, so you may need to add a splash of water or almond milk). As it is, this cake packs in a huge amount of protein and important fibre so definitely constitutes a very healthy treat.

You can make this into one large loaf using a loaf tin or alternatively you can make 2 small round cakes, which you can stack together like a Victoria sponge cake. I use cashew cream and homemade blackberry jam for the filling.

I would 100% recommend you pick your own blackberries for this – not only is that free but also they taste amaaaaazing and you get the gratification of working for your dessert. Now is the season and they’re everywhere so have a forage!

Macros (cake only): 270cals, F: 12g, C: 24.2, P: 15.5

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Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml honey (may need less with sweeter protein powder)
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 100ml almond milk
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 100g vanilla/unflavoured protein
  • 100g self-raising wholemeal/white flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 150g – 200g blackberries

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C (160 fan)
  • Blend together all the liquid ingredients with the chickpeas until smooth (a couple of minutes)
  • In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients to blend
  • Fold in the dry ingredients into the chickpea liquid mix
  • Add half the blackberries and mix (it should be easy
  • Pour into a deep greased tin, preferably with a removable base (or two shallow round tins for filled sponge) and place the remaining blackberries on top
  • Cook for 35-40 minutes if in shallow tins or 45 minutes if in loaf tin. Check with cake prodder to see if it comes out clean. This may take an hour to cook in a deep tin
  • Remove from the oven; keep in tin and let cool on wire rack. Remove from tin when cooler and leave to cool further on the rack. Do not cut until at room temperature.
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If you sandwich the cakes you should level off the lower one using a bread knife

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Spread on the jam and cashew cream thickly, leaving some space at the edges

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Sandwich and enjoy!

Lemon & Parsnip Cake

This post is part two of the recipes we learned from the Blogger’s event I held in Bristol with baker and chef Marianne (@mariannebakes). The basic recipe is easy but makes delightful little individual cakes, perfect for dessert at a dinner party! For a more complex and showy recipe, add the glacé icing and candied parsnips.

The recipe is gluten free, dairy free and can be made vegan by using an egg substitute. It also contains no refined sugars. But most importantly, it just tastes amazing!

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Marianne piping cake mixture into the cannelé moulds (ft. chocolate beetroot cake)

Ingredients (Makes 12 mini bundt cakes (made in silicone cannelé moulds) or 8 cupcakes):

Cake:

  • 100g eggs (2 medium)
  • 60g Total Sweet Xylitol
  • 60g honey
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 35g lemon juice
  • 80g sunflower (or other flavourless) oil
  • 150g grated parsnip (from approximately 1 large parsnip)
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 50g brown rice flour
  • ½ tsp ground psyllium husk (available in health food shops)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder

Lemon syrup:

  • 60g lemon juice (from approx 1 lemon)
  • 60g xylitol (or honey)
  • 30g water

Lemon glacé icing:

  • 150g sieved unrefined (golden) icing sugar
  • 40g lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • dried calendula petals or candied parsnip to finish

Candied Parsnip:

  • 1 small parsnip
  • 100g xylitol or regular white cane sugar
  • 50g water
  • small squeeze of lemon juice

 Method:

Cake:

  1. Wash (but don’t peel) the parsnip and grate it using the finer cheese-grating part of a box grater. Avoid the inner woody part of the vegetable and grate around the outside.
  1. Once grated, zest the lemons on top, weigh out the lemon juice and mix this all into the grated parsnip to prevent discolouration. Set aside.
  1. Crack the eggs and check the weight is approximately 100g (you can use any size eggs as long as you weigh the cracked quantity). Add the Total Sweet Xylitol and whisk on medium-high speed using an electric hand-held mixer or stand mixer for 5 minutes, or until paler and doubled in volume.
  1. Keep whisking the eggs on high speed and gradually pour in the oil a little at a time. Once incorporated, add the honey and whisk in.
  1. Fold through the grated parsnip using a silicone spatula until well incorporated. Sift together the rice flour, ground almonds, psyllium and baking powder, then fold this mixture through the cake batter.
  1. Allow the mix to stand for ten minutes while you pre-heat the oven to 140°C (fan setting) or 160°C (conventional).
  1. Grease the moulds with a little flavourless oil (eg sunflower oil) or coconut oil and place them onto a metal baking tray. Scrape the rested batter gently into a piping bag or jug, snip the tip of the bag with a pair of clean scissors and fill the moulds to just below the top. Let the mix sit and rest in the moulds for another 5 minutes before baking.
  1. Bake in the preheated oven for around 25 minutes, or until browned and the tops spring back when gently pressed, but the sponge still feels soft to the touch.
  1. Keep the cakes in the silicone moulds and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. De-mould the cakes and either brush with the lemon syrup or let cool and ice with the lemon glaze. They will keep for a good 3 days in the fridge, in a covered container.

Lemon syrup:

  1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until it just comes to the boil.
  1. Brush over the cakes with a pastry brush while they are still warm. The syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 weeks, so you can re-use any leftovers; just make sure you strain out any cake crumbs!

Baking Tip: For extra moisture, you can re-use the moulds to soak the cakes. Once de-moulded, let the cakes cool slightly on a wire rack, then fill 1 tsp syrup into the bottom of each mould. Replace the cakes inside the moulds and then brush the remaining syrup on top. Let sit 5 minutes before de-moulding.

Glacé icing:

  1. Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl and make a well in the centre.
  1. Pour in half the lemon juice and stir from the centre using a balloon whisk. Gradually add more lemon juice until you achieve a pouring consistency the texture of custard.
  1. Spoon just 1 small teaspoon on top of each cake and pull the edges out to achieve drips down the sides. Sprinkle dried calendula petals on top before the icing sets, or wait for it to set before topping with the candied parsnip.

Baking Tip: If you prefer not to use cane sugar in this recipe you can omit the icing and just top the cakes with the decorations directly.

Candied parsnips:

  1. Dissolve the xylitol/sugar with the water and squeeze of lemon in a small saucepan.
  1. Wash the parsnip, but don’t peel it. For candied strips, use a vegetable peeler to pare off thin strips from the parsnip, peeling both sides of the vegetable until you have removed as much as you can. For candied flowers, use a sharp knife to cut very thin rounds horizontally through the parsnip.
  2. Place the strips or rounds directly into the hot syrup and cook gently, covered, for 2-3 minutes until the parsnip is just tender and translucent.
  3. Take off the heat and let steep in the syrup overnight at room temperature. Use a flower cutter to cut blossoms from the centre of the parsnip rounds. Store the candied parsnip strips/flowers in the syrup in the fridge for up to a week and drain from the syrup before topping the cakes.

Baking Tip: For pale coloured parsnip crisps use white caster sugar; the xylitol makes them brown slightly.

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Enjoy!

Chocolate Beetroot cake

This is a recipe that baker Marianne (@mariannebakes) developed for our joint blogger’s event in Bristol recently. The cake is moist, indulgent and chocolatey, without containing huge amounts of sugar or fat! In fact, it’s totally free from refined sugars, gluten and dairy, and tastes absolutely incredible.

In addition, it’s easy to make and doesn’t require huge numbers of specialist ingredients – most of the ingredients can be bought in supermarkets or replaced with those that can.

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Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 225g Beetroot, red or golden – look for good quality veg
  • 65g dark chocolate (dairy-free if required, approx 55% cocoa solids), cut into rough chunks
  • 20g honey
  • 1 tb cocoa powder
  • 150g (3 medium) eggs
  • 150g Biona Organic Rapadura Sugar**
  • large pinch sea salt
  • ½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 90g ground almonds
  • 35g buckwheat flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • large pinch ground psyllium husk (available in health food shops)*

Ganache:

  • 250g dark chocolate (dairy-free), roughly chopped
  • 60g honey
  • 110g water
  • small pinch sea salt
  • 1 tb coconut oil

*The psyllium husk helps to bind the ingredients together and makes gluten-free bakes less fragile. If you can’t get hold of any, just omit it, as it is not totally necessary.

**Rapadura sugar (dehydrated cane juice) is a totally unrefined form of cane sugar, with a distinctive caramel flavour. If you can’t get hold of any, try coconut sugar or light muscovado sugar

Method:

Cake:

  1. Wash the beetroot (don’t peel them!), top and tail them and cut into 2cm chunks. Place in a microwaveable bowl and add about 2 tb water. Cover with cling film and heat on full power for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Do not cook more than totally necessary, in order to preserve more nutrients.
  1. Tip the beetroot pieces and the water into a small liquidizer or blender, and puree until fine. Add the chocolate and let sit for a few minutes to let it melt through. Add the honey and cocoa powder and blend again until all well mixed.
  1. Crack the eggs and check the weight is approximately 150g (you can use any size eggs as long as you weigh the cracked quantity). Add the Rapadura sugar, pinch of salt and scraped vanilla seeds and whisk on medium-high speed using an electric hand-held mixer or stand mixer for 5 minutes, or until paler and doubled in volume.
  1. Sift together the ground almonds, buckwheat flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground psyllium. Make sure there are no lumps of bicarb.
  1. When the eggs are well whisked, use a silicone spatula to fold through the beetroot puree mixture until it is well-blended. Use a lifting motion to keep the mixing light and retain some of the air. Sprinkle the dry ingredients on top and fold again until no lumps remain.
  1. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 140°C (fan setting) or 160°C (conventional). This allows the psyllium and buckwheat to properly absorb the liquid in the cake batter.
  1. Grease the moulds with a little flavourless oil (eg sunflower oil) or coconut oil and place them onto a metal baking tray. Scrape the rested batter gently into a piping bag or jug, snip the tip of the bag with a pair of clean scissors and fill the moulds to just below the top.
  1. Bake immediately in the preheated oven for around 25-30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when gently pressed, but the sponge still feels soft to the touch.

9. Keep the cakes in the silicone moulds and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, before chilling in the fridge or freezer until quite cold. De-mould the cakes when completely cold, as they are less breakable then. Store in the fridge until you are ready to dip in the ganache and decorate. They will keep for a good 3 days in the fridge, in a covered container.

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Marianne greasing moulds in preparation for the batter

Ganache:

  1. Heat the honey in a small saucepan over a medium heat until it boils and caramelises. This should only take a few minutes, so don’t leave it unattended – the colour will darken and the honey will smell caramelised when it is ready.
  1. Add the water and salt, and place the saucepan back on a low heat to dissolve the caramelised honey. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly while you melt the chocolate.
  1. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and melt gently over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave on a low heat setting for a minute at a time. Stir occasionally during melting.
  1. Add a third of the chocolate to the hot water and stir gently with a balloon whisk to blend. Add the next third and stir again, then add the last bit of chocolate and blend until just incorporated. Finally, add the coconut oil and blend using a stick blender until completely smooth (about 20 seconds). If you don’t have a stick blender, just use the whisk again. Tap the bowl to release air bubbles to the top.
  1. Remove the cakes from the fridge and dip top-down into the ganache. Lift out, shake off the excess and let them set on top of a wire rack. Top with edible dried petals, such as rose petals or cornflowers. Use a knife to lift the cakes from underneath when you want to move them – this prevents fingermarks from marring your beautiful glaze!

Baking Tip: Any excess ganache can be stored covered in the fridge for up to a week and makes delicious dairy-free truffles. Just roll into balls and dust with cocoa powder.

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Freshly dipped cakes topped with rose petals (ft. @the_honey_jar hand modelling)

Healthy Banana Bread

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Banana bread is a superfood. Not in the instagram yoga-mum sense of the word, but in the way that everyone loves a good banana loaf (unless you dislike bananas) and it makes you feel amazing. I can promise you that I have made friends solely through the production and sharing of this banana bread. Its warmth and soft texture makes it perfect for autumn and winter, but this lighter version makes sure it’s not too stodgy and unhealthy. The wholemeal flour increases the fibre and nutrient content, and the date syrup (or alternative) ensures no refined sugars are used.

It’s not totally good for you as such, and doesn’t taste at all like it is (like all the best desserts), but it’s a huge improvement on the traditional recipe (which uses butter, white flour and sugar) and is so delicious it’s suitable for everyone! When I asked my friends, they said it didn’t taste like a healthy dessert, and didn’t have that weird texture too many sugar-free desserts have.

Macros: 244 calories, 13.7g fat, 26.5g carbs, 4.1g protein.

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For a marbled effect, add cocoa powder to half the mixture

This isn’t vegan or gluten free, but can be made both! See *notes at the bottom for ingredient substitutions.

Ingredients (serves 10):

  • 25g coconut oil
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (or 1tbsp almond butter)
  • 2 large bananas (or three small ones)
  • 75ml milk of choice (I use soya)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200g flour of choice (I use 100g wholewheat and 100g self-raising)
  • Optional: nuts, dark chocolate

Method:

  • Pre-heat the over to 180 degrees Celsius and line a loaf tin with baking parchment
  • Heat up the coconut oil if it is solid
  • Add the coconut and vegetable oils with the vanilla essence to a bowl and mix until combined
  • Beat in the eggs and sugar
  • Mash the bananas and add to the mix
  • Add the milk, baking soda, cinnamon and salt to the bowl and mix everything together
  • Add the flour slowly and fold in to the liquid mixture using a large wooden spoon
  • Add any extras you want at this point and fold in
  • Pour into the loaf tin, and top with cinnamon, or, if you’re feeling decadent, with brown sugar (this creates a crunchy top)
  • Bake in the oven for 1h (insert a toothpick/knife into the centre after one hour – if the cake is done, it should come out clean)
  • Leave to cool in the tin until the tin is cool. Remove from the tin and leave to col completely on a wire rack before cutting.

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*Notes:

Oils: It is possible to use 125ml coconut oil here. However, my aim to is make this affordable for everyone, and coconut oil is not known for being super cheap 😉 But do feel free to switch up ingredients as you like! Just don’t use olive oil!

Bananas: Try to use ripe to over-ripe bananas. I always have a stash in my freezer that I freeze as soon as they become over-ripe. They are perfect for this recipe (and a million other things, such as my carrot cake smoothie bowl recipe).

Vegan? Use flax eggs or 1tbsp almond butter, and make sure to use dairy-free milk. My favourites are hazelnut milk and coconut milk.

Gluten free? This recipe works fine with all-purpose gluten free flour, although liquid levels may have to be increased. Play around and let me know what works for you!

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Let me know what you think in the comments below, or if you made any ingredients substitutions that you think work well! 🙂